Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Which 25'''' Sailboat for SF
As sailingfool mentioned, San Francisco Bay is about as tough a coastal sailing ground as there and you are looking at pretty light duty boats. I suggest moving up one level from the boats in question to a boat with a fixed keel and with better build quality. Beneteau First series is a small step up and obviously there are other boats that are higher quality than that.
Water ballasted boats are somewhat of a problem when left in salt water as the tanks tend to build up marine growth and produce in bearable odors. If you look back in the archives there is a long discussion with fellow who ended up filling his tanks with concrete when he could not live with the smell anymore.
I think that you have a mistaken notion that new boats somehow, " minimize the amount of repair work required for the first several years". It takes more boat maintenance time, skills and money to commission a new than to maintain an older boat.
On a small boat a large motor adds nothing to the ease of docking. Neither does a wheel which confines you in one spot in the cockpit and requires more movement against greater friction resulting in systemn which is slower to change rudder angle and therefore makes docking at low speed more difficult.